2013 saw a year-on-year increase of 30% in global digital spend on online movies, games and mobile apps combined, topping $57bn (£34bn) in 2013 compared with $44bn (£26bn) in 2012.

It’s the rise of the mobile gaming market that is driving the biggest growth year-on year though.

These figures come from IHS Technology & App Annie’s recently published Digital Content Report 2013.

As King, the UK based creator of Candy Crush Saga, has just announced its intention to join the Stock Exchange after its profits grew 7,000% last year, and with game apps now driving overall games growth, now is a great time to take a look at the key takeaways from this report, concentrating particularly on the games category.


Although the market share declined for digital games (excluding apps) it is still the biggest global content category with consumers spending $34bn on downloadable games for PC, Xbox and Playstation in 2013.

Spend on game apps alone however grew 2.9x from 2012 to 2013, a growth that’s almost triple that of the digital games excluding apps category over the same period. 

It seems that game apps are beginning to take market share away from other digital games.

However it is likely that the next generation of consoles (Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4) will improve the future market share of digital games excluding apps. 

IHS forecasts that 41% of games spend on these devices will be digital by 2017, largely thanks to platform service subscriptions.

Japan and South Korea

Japan and South Korea each saw digital content spend increase 40% from 2012 to 2013, due to increasing mobile device adoption and a massive increase in game app spend per device.

Mobile apps are now the leading content category in Japan, and looks likely to overtake digital games excluding apps in South Korea within the next couple of years.

Japan is the only country where spend is higher on mobile game apps than on any other types of digital games. 

Eight of the top 10 game app publishers are now mobile-centric

Two of these companies (EA and CJ Group) produce games across a range of devices and platforms, the majority of these companies are now firmly mobile-centric in terms of strategy and revenue.

Mobile is clearly where gamers are heading, especially if Japan is any indication of global trends. It will be up to current game publishers to make sure that mobile gaming apps are a key part of their future plans if they wish to remain relevant in this increasingly app driven market. 

For more on the unstoppable march of Candy Crush Saga, read Henry Elliss’ article on why does Candy Crush Saga need TV ads? You can also see the full Digital Content Report 2013.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 19 February, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (3)


Barbara Hoover

Thanks for sharing this information Christopher. It's not impossible that the stats we see will continue to grow in the coming years.

over 4 years ago



Interesting article, I would love to see this broken down into countries.

As a Beijing based studio, I am curious to see where China ranked, maybe next years figures will be higher as 4 G is rolled out in China and faster gaming speeds on mobile are possible.

I believe we are going to see an increase in "Gaming" as a marketing strategy this year, 2014, again esp in China where mobile has an incredible penetration and 4 G is available.

over 4 years ago


Recruitment Agency

Impressive information gathering. According to your blog growth that’s almost triple that of the digital games excluding apps category over the years.And its seems to keep on increasing

over 4 years ago

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